6 Things to Expect in an Audition Holding Room

Ever hear someone tell you that as an actor, your job is to audition?

Well, that's somewhat true.

But in this industry, I've discovered that our #1 job may not exactly be auditioning... it's waiting.

When actors are waiting to audition, whether for film, television, or theatre, they are typically placed in a holding room. A holding room is where actors will sign up, sign in, and prepare for an audition. Depending on how the audition is running, you may spend hours in a holding room. So let's get to know these magical places and all they may (or may not) have to offer.

Audition Holding Room

1. Beware of overcrowded holding rooms

When attending an open call, expect large, overcrowded holding rooms with lots of personalities. This is especially true for non-equity open calls. Respect the fact that everyone else started their day just as early as you did and arrived with the same intention... to get a job. Try to keep your stuff off the chairs and as consolidated as possible!

2. A monitor will most likely be present

Unless otherwise noted, a monitor will be stationed behind a table in a holding room. The monitor is responsible for checking everyone in, filtering in alternates, and keeping the audition running... so give them your full attention. They're the true saints of this business.

3. Sides may be posted on the wall

If you decide to go to an EPA for a play or season of plays, you may be expected to read from sides. Sides (dialogue from the play) will be posted on the wall of the holding room the morning of auditions. Peruse them, take a picture of them on your phone, but don't take them until you check in for your audition. If you are non-equity, EMC, or on the alternate list, you are not given the physical sides until your name is called.

4. Beware of who and what you criticize in the holding room

My suggestion is not to talk poorly about other people in the industry, especially in the holding room. You never know who knows who and how well. Chances are the Broadway show you're badmouthing is produced by the father of the girl sitting next to you. You never know.

5. Lines may be formed among actors

At an open call that does not accept an unofficial list, actors will most likely form a line in the order in which they arrived. This will be one of the only ways the monitor will acknowledge any kind of order of attendence.

At an EPA, Equity and EMCs will form a line if they want to sign up the morning of. 

At an ECC, only Equity (and AGMA and Canadian Equity members) are able to form a line to sign up beforehand. Non-equity and EMC must sign up on an unofficial list in the morning or on an official list when the monitor arrives.

6. There may be no holding room at all

Open calls, more often than not, tend to have legitimate holding rooms because of the expected turn out. However, sometimes a bench outside the audition room may be your only option. This will most likely only be the case when you are called in for a specific appointment.